The Supreme Court has struck out portions of General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah's witness statement in the ongoing election petition hearing, saying the latter cannot testify to them.
The SC expunged 7 out of the 42 paragraphed witness statement after objections raised by Mr. Akoto Ampaw, the lead counsel for the second respondent, President Akufo-Addo; who felt those paragraphs were “unduly scandalous and prejudicial”, and prayed the seven-member panel to strike out those 10 paragraphs.
The apex court in its ruling held that if the petitioner (John Dramani Mahama) himself was in the dock testifying, those paragraphs would have been admissible and further added those paragraphs were not in the knowledge of the witness.
- Paragraphs 6 and 7 struck out.
- End part of Paragraph 25 struck out
- Parts of Paragraph 26 struck out
- Parts of Paragraph 28 struck out
- Paragraph entirely 30 struck out
- Paragraph 37 struck out
Mr Akoto Ampaw, who objected to the admissibility of 10 out of the 39 paragraphs of Mr Asiedu Nketia’s statement said the allegations raised by the witness were highly scandalous, prejudicial and same were not part of the petitioner’s pleadings before the Court.
The Supreme Court’s ruling came after Mr Asiedu Nketia mounted the witness box to testify in the Election Petition trial before the Court.
Mr Asiedu Nketia, after identifying his witness statement, however, had his evidence halted following the objection raised by Mr Akoto Ampaw.
BUT lead counsel for the Petitioner, Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata, however, held that those 10 paragraphs were issues of facts and the statement of case of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) admitted some errors in the computation by the EC.
He said the 10 paragraphs were clearly pieces of material evidence relating to the facts of the case.
Ruling on objections to Asiedu Nketia’s witness statement:
The 1st and 2nd respondents have raised objections to portions of the witness statements of Mr. John Asiedu Nketia who has been sworn in this court as PW1.
The objections to these paragraphs precisely paragraphs 21, 6, 7, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 33, and 37. Both counsels based their objections to the witness statements of PW1 on two grounds that some of the paragraphs under attack are not based on the pleadings on record and some of the statements are unduly scandalous and prejudicial. It will be preferable to set out the paragraphs in the witness statements which in our view are amenable to be struck out.
We are of the opinion that paragraphs 6and 7 ought to be struck out as the witness (Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia) cannot testify on the facts in the said paragraphs. It would have been admissible if the petitioner himself is testifying and the statements in the said paragraphs are not within the knowledge of the witness.
We find paragraph 21 as a matter which has its foundation in the pleadings and same is accordingly maintained.
As regards paragraph 25, we find out that part and that paragraph is hereby struck out as not based on the pleadings.
In respect to paragraph 26, the court is of the opinion that the statement is also struck out on the basis that it has no foundation in the pleadings.
As regards paragraph 28, it is not borne out of the pleadings and same is accordingly struck out.
In respect to paragraph 30, the court is of the view that it has no foundation in the pleadings as it just refers to C.I. 127 which the witness cannot testify on the statutes.
As regards paragraphs 32 and 33, we find that they are based on the pleadings and therefore maintained to be part of the witness statements.
In respect to paragraph 37, we find that it is just an inference to be drawn and not evidence and therefore proceed to struck it out.
The court, therefore, orders that the paragraphs referred to offends the law and are hereby expunged from the witness statement of PW1.
The Supreme Court, as part of conducting pretrial in the Election 2020 Petition, ordered parties to file their witness statements.
The petitioner indicated it would be calling five witnesses but filed only two, indicating that as and when there was the need to call a witness, a supplementary application would be filed to that effect.
Mr Asiedu Nketia and Dr Michael Kpessa White, a member of the NDC, who was in the EC’s strong room, are expected to testify for the Petitioner.
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